Redemption at Hacksaw Ridge is the authorised Biography of an extraordinary man. Desmond Doss is the subject of the recent critically acclaimed movie about a conscientious objector who despite never picking up a service weapon managed more feats of bravery and heroism in the field of battle than is believable when you examine how often he placed himself in harm’s way in the service of his fellows. At face value this is a relatively simply written book for military enthusiasts, fans of the books of Stephen .E Ambrose will find it informative and battle packed. The prose is not lyrical, but a group of Concise depictions of actions that Doss was involved in but it was still a wonderful story. The movie has obviously been adapted for dramatic purposes as the ill treatment of his platoon was not as blatant and violent as depicted there. He soon earned their trust and respect even before he hit foreign soil because of his application of the idea of others before himself.
He was however heavily penalised for his religious observance of the Sabbath on a Saturday and it was this prejudice that caused him the most consternation . For me it is the vein of dogged faith and belief in the Will of God (and the seemingly miraculous close shaves and near misses that grew from that unshakeable faith) that intrigued me. Desmond became a hero to me as a man, not as a soldier. His Seventh Day Adventist heritage and his legacy to other non- combative soldiers in later conflicts fascinated me. He was a beacon to those who honoured country, but was held accountable by a higher cause. Many of the contributors to the account were members of the SDA church who put peace and service before self who honour Desmond for his lifelong service to those beliefs,their support for one of their own is clear throughout his story .
I was pleased the book delved a little into his later life although I was much saddened to read of his health issues, many of which stemmed from his own lack of self -preservation when others were in need. In a world where media creates stars for notoriety rather than worth, this was a humbling story about a meek man with the hugest heart and a warrior’s spirit, one I am pleased History has remembered both on screen and page.